After CAPSTONE successfully left Earth orbit, it has begun charging its onboard battery using solar arrays, according to an update from NASA.
NASA said that the CubeSat satellite is waiting for a course correction and remains in the general path intended for its ballistic transfer to the moon.
Leave the Earth’s orbit
The satellite will rely on its own thrust and the gravity of the Sun for the rest of its journey. Gravity will allow the CubeSat to use significantly less fuel to reach its destination.
The mission was launched aboard a Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket from the Rocket Lab 1 launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand on June 28.
The CubeSats’ goal is to enter an elongated orbit, a semi-straight halo orbit, around the Moon for at least six months for research purposes.
The satellite’s orbit will bring the spacecraft within 1,000 miles (1,609.3 km) from one lunar pole in its closest pass and within 43,500 miles (70006.5 km) from the other pole every seven days.
In addition, the small satellite will also test its communication capabilities. The orbiter offers a view of Earth while providing coverage of the Moon’s south pole, the scheduled landing point for Artemis astronauts in 2025.
The CubeSat satellite will also communicate with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft that has been orbiting the moon for 13 years. It will serve as a reference point for the satellite and allow scientists to measure the distance between the CubeSat and LRO, as well as where CAPSTONE is in the sky.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”